Skift Take

Tune in to hear from two experts about why the travel industry shouldn't overlook customers with disabilities — and how companies can best serve the market.


The disability travel market is often viewed through the perspective of legal compliance but overlooked as a real opportunity for airlines, hotels, destinations, and other travel companies.

Statistics are scarce, but according to a study commissioned in 2015 by the Open Doors Organization, adults with disabilities in the U.S. spend $17.3 billion a year on leisure and business travel. Over the two years before the study, 26 million adults with disabilities took 73 million trips.

And the subject is getting more attention. New York State announced an accessible tourism initiative in mid-October, and later that month the Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University’s School of Professional Studies held a discussion about optimizing hotel and tourism experiences for guests with disabilities.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the legal and technological changes that have made travel more accessible, the opportunities that the industry has been missing, and what ground is still left to cover.

Our guests are Peter Slatin, founder and president of Slatin Group, which provides education and training to help businesses — including many in travel — improve interactions with clients who have disabilities. His program Elements of Service: Serving Guests with Disabilities also recently went online through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

Also with us via Skype is Brett Heising, CEO of, a travel and entertainment review site for users with physical disabilities or mobility impairment. Through a travel agency partnership, the site also provides bookings and trip coordination.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Andrew Sheivachman.

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or RSS.

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Tags: accessible travel, skift podcast

Photo credit: A man sitting on a wheelchair is boarded on a gondola in Venice, Italy through the Gondolas4All project that provides access points for wheelchair users. Luigi Costantini / Associated Press

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